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(Ger. Entmythologisierung). Term used by R. Bultmann* for a way of interpreting Scripture in the categories of modern man. It tries to remove ancient “myths” (e.g., the “mythical Weltbild”) and state the message of Scripture in relevant contemporary language. He defined “myth” as a representation according to which the transcendent and divine appears as immanent and human, the invisible as visible.

The issue was discussed 1941 by Bultmann in a study entitled Offenbarung und Heilsgeschehen. He believes that hidden in the myth* is a kerygma,* which can be set free by demythologization and proclaimed in existential terms (see Existentialism). The hist. core of Christianity is in the crucifixion of Jesus, which is also in a mythological setting.

Fritz Buri (b. 1907; Swiss theol.; prof. Basel) endorses Bultmann's existentialism and demythologization, but faults him for halting with the kerygma. Consistency, he holds, requires also a “dekerygmatization” of the Christian message.

Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, ed. H. W. Bartsch, tr. R. H. Fuller, 2 vols. (London, 1953–62); W. Arndt, “Entmythologisierung,” CTM, XXII, No. 3 (March 1951), 186–191; R. R. Caemmerer, “More on Entmythologisierung,” CTM, XXII, No. 10 (October 1951), 769–770; P. M. B[retscher], “Bultmann and Goldammer,” CTM, XXV, No. 9 (September 1954), 692–694; O. Cullmann, “Rudolf Bultmann's Concept of Myth and the New Testament,” CTM, XXVII, No. 1 (January 1956), 13–24; P. Althaus, Jr., Fact and Faith in the Kerygma of Today, tr. D. Cairns (Philadelphia, 1959); J. Macquarrie, The Scope of Demythologizing: Bultmann and His Critics (London, 1960); L. M. Petersen, A Historical Critical Analysis of Rudolf Bultmann's Form Criticism as Related to His Demythologization (ThD Thesis, Conc. Sem., St. Louis, 1960); L. Malevez, Le message chrétien et le mythe (Brussels, 1954), tr. O. Wyon, The Christian Message and Myth (London, 1958); R. Marlé, Bultmann et l'interprétation de Nouveau Testament (Paris, 1956). EL

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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